Digital Gold Rush

Tracking European consumer opinion on cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies have been a hot topic for much of the past two years. Their rise has produced its own parlance, full of mysterious terminology like HODL (hold on for dear life), ‘rekt’ and ‘lambo’. These volatile digital currencies have already made some people fabulously wealthy while ruining others. Crypto is a still-evolving world fraught with challenges and laden with traps for the unaware, but despite the associated risks it looks like cryptocurrencies are here for the long haul. Many advocates even claim the digital money could one day replace regular government-issued ‘fiat’ currency.

Cryptocurrencies are intrinsically tied to an innovative technology called blockchain, which offers a distributed database capable of eliminating the need for centralised control over information, including currency transactions. With distributed transactions available via digital currency, consumers are no longer tethered to the currencies of their home countries. One of the major aims of cryptocurrency is to become accepted as a universal digital currency, used to pay for goods and services.

Bitcoin leads the way

Bitcoin is the first and by far the most well-known of all cryptocurrencies. It experienced an astronomical rise, from 1 US cent upon its creation in 2010, to an all-time high of almost 20,000 USD by last Christmas.

At this point, the hype around crypto also reached an all-time high, driving many people to buy into Bitcoin and other coins (known as alt-coins). Unfortunately for them, the price fell again in 2018 and at the time of writing has not recovered to anywhere near its December 2017 peak. Some experts are claiming that Bitcoin will soon be dead, and other cryptocurrencies will take over.

Whatever your opinions on cryptocurrencies, there’s no denying they’re an important concern for many consumers in the financial services space, and likely to become increasingly so as we move into 2019. In the European financial services industry, cryptocurrencies are capturing strong interest, both from financial institutions and their consumers.

But what are European consumers saying about cryptocurrencies? What’s driving the conversation; is it still Bitcoin, or are other coins creeping into the mix?

How has sentiment towards cryptocurrencies shifted over time and what’s its current state? We can answer these questions and many more using social listening to discover trends and

Price linked to hype

For starters, over the last five years the overall conversation about cryptocurrencies has grown a great deal. Early 2018 was when it peaked, riding high on the Christmas 2017 price rise.

Based on the below chart, we can notice a particularly significant insight; conversation about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies rises and falls almost in tandem with the Bitcoin trading price. This suggests a strong element of hype behind the fluctuations in cryptocurrency prices and so consumers buying into them would be advised to keep this in mind.

You might expect the spectacular rise and fall of Bitcoin and other coins to affect how people feel towards them. Looking at the sentiment in consumer conversation shows us that this is certainly the case. Over the last five years, consumers have been gaining more confidence in crypto, as shown by their increasing positive sentiment towards it. But when the price crashed in early 2018, accordingly so did the levels of positive sentiment.

The European cryptocurrency conversation is located mainly in the UK and Belgium, with a less concentrated presence in Ireland, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. What’s more, most of the discussion about cryptocurrencies takes place among consumers in Europe’s most economically developed locations, including financial centres in the City of London and in Switzerland.

Crypto contenders

So out of all the many cryptocurrencies available, which one features most often in the European consumer conversation? As might be predicted, Bitcoin monopolises most of the crypto conversations by a large margin, with Ethereum and Litecoin coming second and third respectively. Other contenders featured include Ripple, Cardano and Dogecoin. All have gained popularity since their early years except Dogecoin, which seems to be falling out of favour as time goes on.

Conclusion

All things considered, the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain is still shrouded in a great deal of uncertainty and confusion.

Want to learn more about emerging trends in financial services industry in Europe? Download our Consumer Trends for Financial Services now!

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